Pods in Customer Success vs. Sales: A Side-by-Side Comparison

Pods, a collaborative team structure, have been around for several years but have become increasingly popular in both Customer Success (CS) and Sales, especially as the former has become even more efficiency-focused in the past year.

The Role of Pods in CSM Coverage Models: The Evolving Landscape

The concept of “pods” in Customer Success Management (CSM) continues to evolve, offering a flexible approach to structuring CSM teams within an overall coverage model strategy. Here’s a breakdown of how pods can fit into your CSM coverage models:

Pooled CSMs: Benefits, Challenges, and Requirements for Success

The concept of pooled CSMs, where a pool of CSMs manage a portfolio of customers without dedicated account ownership, has emerged as an alternative approach to CSM org design. Here’s a breakdown of the current thinking on pooled CSMs, including the key requirements for success. Potential Benefits of Pooled CSMs Potential Challenges of CSM Pools […]

Beyond Touch Levels: Scaling Customer Success through Appropriate Experience (AX)

There’s no such thing as a ‘tech-touch’ or ‘high-touch’ customer. There are only customers and their Appropriate Experience (AX). This is the modern take on Customer Success Management that leaders of world-class CS organizations operationalize around.

The Goal Discovery Framework for Customer Success Management

In the realm of Customer Success (CS), understanding customer goals is the cornerstone of building meaningful relationships and driving long-term value. Traditional customer interactions often involve direct communication, allowing for immediate clarification of needs.  As I’ say all the time: No Goals. No Customer Success. Know Goals. Know Customer Success.

Storytelling in Customer Success: Use the Power of Goal Discovery

The Goal Discovery Framework is an invaluable tool for storytelling in customer success, enabling you to demonstrate value beyond the traditional focus on Return on Investment (ROI).  By combining data, storytelling, and this framework, Customer Success Managers (CSMs) can effectively showcase the true value proposition of their product or service. Here’s how to apply the […]

Customer Success Scaling: Capacity Planning and Resource Allocation

How many Customer Success Managers (CSMs) do you need? Here’s a tool – and the logic – to do Capacity Planning for your Customer Success organization.

Bridging the Engagement Gap: Keeping Customers Actively Invested

Did you know that a significant portion of your customers, even those who seemingly appear satisfied, consider exploring alternatives before renewing their contracts? This statistic highlights a crucial reality in today’s competitive SaaS landscape: customer engagement is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity for survival. 

Customer Success: High/Low/No Touch Customer Segmentation

The traditional Customer Success method of simply looking at what a customer pays us and giving them a particular level of ‘touch’ is old and outdated. It’s time to logically segment customers based on Appropriate Experience (AX). For context, on Friday, May 19, 2017, I did a Customer Success Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Facebook […]

Customer Success: Incorporating High/Low/No Touch into Onboarding

Proper Customer Onboarding isn’t done to prevent churn; it’s done to ensure the customer achieves their Desired Outcome. Retention comes from that. But what is “proper” customer onboarding? Let’s find out. For context, on Friday, May 19, 2017, I did a Customer Success Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Facebook live. It was awesome. The video […]

Customer Success: How to help Salespeople with Customer Segmentation

The age-old issue of Customer Success and Sales alignment, only this time focused on segmentation. This is my attempt to definitively address this eternal quandary. For context, on Friday, May 19, 2017, I did a Customer Success Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Facebook live. It was awesome. The video is embedded below and below that […]

Customer Success: Determining Which Customers on which to Focus

From a Customer Success perspective, this is the wrong question to ask. You must “focus” on all customers since proper Customer Onboarding is critical for all customers to achieve their Desired Outcome. The way you operationalize around all of your customers to ensure they’re all Onboarded in an Appropriate way will come down to logical […]

Customer Success: Who Should Handle Upsells?

One of the great Customer Success questions – regardless of how many answers are given or by whom – that refuses to ever actually be answered is who should handle upsells… sales or Customer Success. This is my attempt to definitively answer this question. For context, on Friday, May 19, 2017, I did a Customer […]

Customer Success: How to Reset Mismanaged Expectations

Carefully. One of the biggest drains on Customer Success Management resources is customers that have not had their expectations properly managed and having to work around that. Avoid that where you can by doing things correctly from the outset, but if you’re there already, maybe this will help you. For context, on Friday, May 19, […]

Customer Success: Customer Engagement Across the Entire Lifecycle

Customer Success is when your customers achieve their Desired Outcome through their interactions with your company. Those interactions occur across the entire lifecycle. I define Customer Success Management as the process of moving customers toward their ever-evolving Desired Outcome. Again, across the entire lifecycle. You can’t have Customer Success without engagement across the lifecycle. For […]

Customer Success: Working with Customers that don’t like Technology

Luckily this type of thing is rare, but with Customer Success as our operating philosophy, or Customer Success Management as our operating model, we need to work within the confines of our customer’s comfort zone… not ours. This is a thought-provoking question with, hopefully, an equally thought-provoking answer. For context, on Friday, May 19, 2017, […]

Customer Success: How to Tell Customers What to Do

For many Customer Success Management teams, it’s easy to fall into the trap of ‘just let your customers figure it out.’ In fact, it’s easy to think that’s in their best interest. Leave them alone and they’ll discover what they need to on their own. But in most cases, that’s the exact opposite of what […]

How to Get Customers to Help Define Engagement Models

Don’t hide from your customers. Don’t pretend you know everything. Talk to your customers and figure out from that discovery process what your engagement model should look like. You can then extrapolate segment-based models or, for some customers, create unique engagement models just for them (if it makes sense). For context, on Friday, May 19, […]

Customer Success-driven Marketing: Targeting Offline Customers

Customer Success should drive everything your company does, including sales and marketing. When it comes to targeting customers that aren’t online, first, I’d push back on the assumption that your customers aren’t online. Second, I’d remind you that Customer Success-driven Marketing means understand the customer’s Desired Outcome so you can craft a message that gets […]

Lincoln Murphy Customer Success AMA Transcript and Video – May 19, 2017

On Friday May 19th, 2017, I did a Customer Success Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Facebook live. It was awesome. The video is embedded below, along with the questions that were asked and my answers. Yep, if you don’t want to watch or listen, no problem! I got the entire AMA transcribed (and cleaned it […]

The Process for Discovering your Customer’s Desired Outcome

Customer Success is when your customer achieves their Desired Outcome through their interactions with your company. Desired Outcome is Required Outcome + Appropriate Experience. Each customer segment will have its own Appropriate Experience (AX) – even if they share the same Required Outcome – and this will tell you the type and level of coverage […]

Customer Success: How to Close the Feedback Loop with…

Customer Success Management, Marketing, Sales, Product, and the Executive team all have unique information about the customer. This includes how the customers talk about what they do, how they talk about and use our product, how any of this aligns with our strategic direction (or not). So creating feedback looks among all of those parts […]

Customer Success and Upgrading Grandfathered Customers

If you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you likely have customers that you’ve “Grandfathered” into old pricing tiers or feature sets that are obsolete now. How can you get Grandfathered customers to move to your current pricing model in a customer-positive way? I have some ideas for you… For context, on Friday, […]

Customer Success in Early-stage Startups

Early-stage startups think Customer Success isn’t for them. Wrong! Not only is Customer Success for startups (along with established companies), it’s also your key to growth without the friction of churn and bad-fit customers distracting you from rapid expansion. Let’s talk about how to apply Customer Success in early-stage startups. For context, on Friday, May […]

The Best Customer Success Management (CSM) Software

What is the best Customer Success Management (CSM) Software on the market today? As you might imagine, that question comes up frequently for me. Below, I try to give you the best answer I can on this very important piece of your Customer Success strategy.

Why Aligning Sales and Customer Success is Critical

The goal of Customer Success for your company is to get customers to stay longer, buy more, and advocate for you. So it’s critical to remember that Customer Success begins at the first interaction with prospects by your sales team, continues across their entire lifecycle, and is required for scalable, repeatable Account Expansion. Which means […]

Customer Success and Charging Setup Fees

So, do Setup Fees jibe with Customer Success? Are they mutually exclusive? Can they play well together? Is there a time or place where they’re more appropriate? The answer is, of course, yes. And no. Don’t worry… I unconfuse it all below. For context, on Friday, May 5, 2017, I did a Customer Success Ask […]

The Biggest Customer Success Mistake (and How to Avoid it)

Spoiler Alert: The biggest mistake you can make in Customer Success is not putting the customer first – this is CUSTOMER Success. If what you’re doing isn’t designed around the customer’s Desired Outcome, I have no idea what you’re doing. You’re doing something, but it’s not Customer Success. But let’s talk about why this matters… […]

Customer Success in Two-sided Markets

Customer Success Management is about ensuring customers achieve their ever-evolving Desired Outcome. Regardless of the model – two-sided market, partner model, direct-to-customer, etc. – every entity in the value chain has a Desired Outcome. It’s up to you to discover what that is and facilitate the achievement of that (ever-evolving) Desired Outcome, and it all […]

Customer Success: The Secret to Improving Customer Adoption

Customer Success Management is about ensuring customers achieve their ever-evolving Desired Outcome. It’s not about adoption. It’s not about the breadth and depth of use of your product. These are big ideas you need to move past if you want to be successful in your Customer Success initiative. Let’s explore this idea… For context, on […]

Customer Success: How to Monitor Customer Happiness

Customer Success is not about making customers happy. In fact, there are 8 other things Customer Success is not if you’re so inclined. But for the sake of this post, just know that we’re here to make customers successful, not happy. But how do you monitor that? Good question… let’s explore that a bit. For […]

Determining the Perfect Number of Customer Segments

In Customer Success, customer segmentation should be logical (take a step back and really think about it) and done from the customer point of view (think: Appropriate Experience segmentation) rather than from an internal-focused view (i.e. ARR, revenue potential, etc.). It’s not about what a customer pays us… it’s about the customer’s appropriate experience. Let’s dig […]

The Secret to Defining Customer Success Coverage Models

Customer Success is not Account Management. This means using traditional Account Management ideas will either limit your (and your customer’s) success… or will cause you your Customer Success initiative to fail miserably. The traditional method of simply looking at what a customer pays us and giving them a particular level of ‘touch’ is old and […]

Lincoln Murphy Customer Success AMA Transcript and Video – May 5, 2017

On Friday May 5, 2017, I did a Customer Success Ask Me Anything (AMA) on Facebook live. It was awesome. The video is embedded below and while there seems to be an audio/video sync issue, the audio is crisp and listening to this will be time well-spent. If you don’t want to watch or listen, […]

The 5 Fatal Flaws of most Customer Journey Maps

Customer Journey maps are a favorite tool of Customer Experience (CX) and Customer Success Management (CSM) professionals around the world. Very often, they are elaborate, colorful maps – some look like movie storyboards or even children’s board games – that take the customer on a journey to nowhere. What journey are you mapping? If it’s […]

The Cost of Bad-Fit Customers: How a Simple Sales Mistake Wiped Out $1.2M in Revenue Overnight

Também disponível em Português por Superlógica Do you need to churn and burn customers to learn? A lot of people in startups think so. In fact, a lot of people in companies of all shapes and sizes think so. Think you need to churn and burn through thousands of customers before it starts to have […]

Customer Success Goals: Cohorts, Metrics, and Prioritization

Também disponível em Português por Conpass I asked the VP of Customer Success what her goal was for the Customer Success Management (CSM) organization, and she said, “to ensure customers achieve their Desired Outcome through their interactions with our company.” That’s the definition of Customer Success that I developed, so I obviously loved that answer […]

Contents of an Awesome Customer Success Playbook

Customer Success has been clearly defined and what goes into Customer Success Management has been fully documented. But when it comes to certain aspects of Customer Success Management, there are still a few things that remain a bit mysterious to some. A great example of that is the concept of the Customer Success Playbook, the sports […]

Understanding Customer Success Management Compensation Models

What’s the best Comp Model for Customer Success Managers (CSM)? How can I create a compensation model that drives the type of behavior we need? What percentage of CSM comp should be variable, and what impact should individual vs. org-level performance have on the variable piece of compensation? The more this comes up, the more […]

Determining the Number of Accounts per Customer Success Manager

This is otherwise known as, “How to Determine Customer Success Practitioner Coverage Ratios.” Initially, the question was “how many accounts should a Customer Success Manager (CSM) handle?” But people quickly realized that answers like “37 on the low end; 200 on the high end” weren’t actually helpful. Then, an ex-CEO-turned-VC with a strong content marketing […]